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Archive for the ‘Funding’ Category

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

In 1999, the Barr Foundation started investing in early education. Since then, Barr has generously distributed early education grants totaling more than $47 million to a number of organizations including Strategies for Children.

In 2020, Barr will sunset its giving in this sector, but as it does so, the foundation is reflecting on two decades of work, and it has posted a group of legacy early education webpages that documents its efforts.

Kimberly Haskins, Barr’s senior program officer for Cross-Program Initiatives, says:

“It is essential to invest in high-quality, developmentally appropriate learning experiences for children. To improve the experience for all children for years to come, we also need to invest in research, policy and public education. Strategies for Children and organizations that help support effective systems are critical for the longer term healthy development of children and families.” (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

On Thursday, May 10, 2018, Senate Ways and Means Chair Karen Spilka released a $41.42 billion budget proposal for fiscal year 2019.

The Senate budget is slightly higher than Governor Baker’s proposal and slightly lower than the House budget.

For early education and care, the Senate budget invests $5 million in preschool expansion, increases funds for child care resource and referral agencies, and level funds most other programs. Unlike the House, the Senate budget does not include a rate reserve for early educator salaries.

The Senate budget’s executive summary states: “Skills learned in early childhood directly impact future academic achievement and personal and economic success. The Committee’s budget invests in kids beginning at birth and seeks to remove barriers to access and quality care.”

Additional reporting on the Senate budget and its implications can be found at MassLive and The Boston Globe.

The Senate will debate amendments to the budget on May 22. Visit Strategies for Children’s website for a complete list of early education line items.

Stay tuned for more information on amendments and advocacy opportunities.

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Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

 

The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) has released its annual yearbook — a comprehensive look at publicly-funded preschool programs — and found a mix of progress and stagnation: There are more preschool spots, but states aren’t investing enough in program quality. This year’s assessment also includes a special report on Dual Language Learners.

“Recent changes in federal policy – including the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) – make it clear that progress in early education depends more than ever on the states,” NIEER Senior Co-Director Steven Barnett said.

Looking at the 2016-2017 academic year, the Yearbook notes that:

• across the country “state-funded preschool program enrollment exceeded 1.5 million children” or “33 percent of 4-year-olds and 5 percent of 3-year-olds”

• state funding for preschool rose two percent to some $7.6 billion, an increase of nearly $155 million (adjusted for inflation) since 2015-2016

• state funding per child was $5,008, a slight decline from 2015-16 adjusted for inflation

• 3 state-funded preschool programs met all 10 new quality standards benchmarks

• 10 programs met fewer than half, and

• 7 states do not invest any state dollars in preschool

In its assessment of state policies for Dual Language Learners, NIEER reduces its findings to two words: “Needs Improvement.”  (more…)

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Yesterday, hundreds of early educators from across the state — many wearing green and snapping cell phone pictures – gathered for a rally at the State House steps for Advocacy Day. An upbeat band, featuring tuba and trombone players, wove through the crowd, filling Beacon Street with music.

 

Leo Delaney

 

“It really is about the workforce,” Leo Delaney said. He’s the president of the board of MADCA (the Massachusetts Association of Early Education and Care), and he was the first speaker. “Without quality staff, you don’t have quality.” (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

Leaders in Ontario, Canada’s second-largest province, are talking a giant step forward: calling for a $2.2 billion plan to create full-day, fully licensed child care for “preschool children from the age of two-and-a-half until they are eligible to start kindergarten, beginning in 2020.”

Families would save some $17,000 per child.

“We listened to parents, educators and child care providers across the province, and they’ve told us this move is the right one to make,” Kathleen Wynne, the premier of Ontario said. “This investment will make life more affordable for families and allow more parents to make the choice to go back to work, knowing their child is safe and cared for.”

Currently in Ontario, “kids are eligible for junior kindergarten in the calendar year they turn four, and senior kindergarten the year they turn five,” the news magazine Maclean’s reports, adding: (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

 

There’s great budget news for children and families.

Last week, Congress officially passed a $1.3 trillion spending bill that dramatically increases funding for early education and care.

In total the bill’s provisions add up to “an increase of more than $3 BILLION for child care and early learning,” according to an email from the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC).

The funding includes a $2.37 billion increase for the Child Care and Development Block Grant and a $610 million increase for Head Start, as well as “new funding for other key early learning and after-school programs.”

NWLC says it’s “the single largest increase in child care funding in history.”

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren said of this budget win, “It was a challenge to find affordable child care for my own kids – and it’s even harder for parents today. Which is why I fought tooth and nail to nearly double child care funding in this year’s federal budget.” (more…)

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“This budget starts New Jersey down a four-year path to expanding pre-K statewide. We will add an additional $57.6 million to build upon the $25 million in new funding the Legislature ensured for this current year for a total investment of nearly $83 million.

“Decades of studies tell us that pre-K builds a strong foundation for a child’s educational future. We know it has profound effects on closing the achievement gap. We know it has positive benefits that continue even into adulthood – that every dollar we put into pre-K pays us back many times over throughout that child’s life.

“In 2008, the state made a promise to expand pre-K statewide. That promise to our next generation remains unfulfilled. This investment moves us closer to fulfilling it.”

New Jersey Governor Philip Murphy’s budget address, March 13, 2018

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“The Murphy Administration recognizes that providing our youngest learners with high-quality early education will have long-lasting benefits. The school budget appropriation builds on the $25 million in new funding the Legislature ensured for this current year and includes $57.6 million in new pre-K funding, the largest increase in over a decade, for a total investment of nearly $83 million. This funding continues to support fiscal 2018 expansion districts and focuses additional resources on additional districts that can launch programs quickly and effectively. Under this budget, over 3,500 four-year-olds are expected to gain access to pre-K this year.”

“Governor Murphy Introduces First Budget, Moving New Jersey Towards a Stronger and Fairer Future,” news release from the governor’s office, March 13, 2018

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